“Authenticity, ethics, originality, and love of nature and the human”“ are the central values of her products
The fact that Marion Batigne, jewelry designer with marble, places her career as a geologist at the beginning of her self-portrayal surprised us. She says that since she was a child, she has had the desire to understand the earth and the mechanisms of how the stone planet works, and so she studied at an engineering school near Paris, where she earned a master’s degree in applied geology for mining and quarrying, during her studies, she traveled the world and studied for one semester in Canada, then worked for one year in nickel mines in New Caledonia (a group of islands to the west of Australia that belongs to France), then, back in France, worked in a grain mill, then in a company that operated quarries in the Tarn department and in the Pyrenees, finally making it to the position of technical manager in these quarries. This immersion in the world of natural stone brought back to her mind a very old idea, i.e., that of creating something with her own hands, and finally she chose marble jewelry.
Well, maybe so, all in all, a somehow straightforward and probably also pragmatic path, at the end of which also stood that she found a new use for the special little stones from her collection. “Sassolini“ is the Italian word for small stones or pebbles, and it immediately made sense to give her jewelry brand the title “Sassolina.”
After all, she now lives near Carrara, and has found the stones of her life with the marble there, it sounds like.
In 2021, she began designing such pieces. She does the processing herself, first of all, and secondly, by hand. Just as you would imagine: at the grinder until the piece has exactly the shape and thickness she has in mind. If the shape demands it, she also goes to the diamond saw.
She chooses only remnants as starting material, either from active or abandoned quarries or workshops. There is also respect for nature and its materials behind it when she finds a beautiful piece somewhere “that inspires me,“ and then spends many hours shaping it into the form she wants.
Of course, with natural stone jewelry it is always a matter of bringing the magic of the material to bear, because as far as the shapes and sizes of such jewelry are concerned, the heavy weight of the stone imposes tight limits on the artists.
Central values for her are “authenticity, ethics, originality, and love of nature and the human,“ she writes.
She goes on to write: “Giving a second life to an unvalued raw material, even on a very small scale, is another important commitment for me and my concept of ethical and eco-responsible marble jewellery.”
The long durability of her products is another aspect. For this she uses so-called Filled Gold, which in turn is made from recycled scrap gold.
Even the packaging is eco-friendly, namely made by herself and folded as an origami box. Because she knows her way around minerals and other materials, she guarantees that her jewelry contains no amounts of nickel or hazardous heavy metals, as required by EU standards.
Photos: Marion Batigne
(10.02.2023, USA: 02.10.2023)